Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lawton Hall

It is always very reassuring to hear about alums having real, successful “lives after Lawrence.” I was very impressed by how much Lawton has done already and how put together he is. It seems counterintuitive to me to try making an artist’s life for yourself in a place like Wisconsin, which just seems like a cultural pit of despair (except for the few big cities – and Wisconsin is far from the worst state). But it would seem you could make that kind of life for yourself just about anywhere if you try hard enough and hold onto your connections in those places. And there are many more opportunities in Wisconsin than I had previous realized. (That is not to say I wish to live in Wisconsin any longer than I have to.)
One of the opportunities for artists in Wisconsin 
I got more interested in Lawton’s work as he went, and I think that is how he planned his presentation. Cyclic History/This Place is No Place were amazing to me, not because of the “music” of the projectors, but because it was very aesthetically pleasing. My favorite pieces of his that he showed, however, were All Your Thens for Now and the Holy Sheboygan! pieces. The latter were so intricate and experimental, but in a way that kept me engaged rather than overwhelming me. I would love to see the band live. All Your Thens for Now was so unique and drew inspirations from such unexpected sources. I really loved the use of voice as a percussion instrument.

Holy Sheboygan!

Once again, I am given hope that Life After Lawrence is not necessarily a black hole.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Act of Passing By

I was able to immediately draw an idea from this passage in De Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life: “It is true that the operations of walking on can be traced on city maps in such a way as to transcribe their paths and their trajectories. But these thick or thin curves only refer, like words, to the absence of what has passed by. Surveys of routes miss what was: the act itself of passing by” (97).

We often do not notice how many things we casually glance at as we are walking from point A to point B, especially in familiar places. My goal was to capture the feeling of those quick glances by randomly taking photographs around me while walking, without even looking through the viewfinder. I occasionally arbitrarily zoomed in or out and the camera was on autofocus, but those were the only ways I manipulated the images. I felt a little bit creepy at times, since many of these pictures included unsuspecting people, either passing by or engaging in nice-weekend-day activities. I didn't look at the pictures until I was done, and a lot of what I had photographed was the tops of buildings with the vast blue sky overhead.

This project reminds of a mix between my previous projects, I Can See Ahead of Me (a sped-up video of my travels across campus) and This Is Happening (photos taken at random and paired together). Both of these projects can be viewed on this blog.

You can view this haphazard series of photos on my flickr.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


In The Practice of Everyday Life, De Certeau says that “one can distinguish ‘ways of operating’ – ways of walking, reading, producing, speaking, etc.” (30). My project explores a couple ideas about “ways of operating.” The first being that we operate in ways that we consciously decide, as well as in ways that we do not realize or think about. There are things that we habitually do every day that we take no notice of, because we are literally always doing them. They sneak in with the things that we are conscious of.

The second idea is about how important our hands are to our everyday operating. In this class, we are all able-bodied people who cannot truly imagine what life would be like without our hands. They do almost everything for us and we barely take notice of that fact. Also, many of these unconscious everyday actions are done with our hands.

I chose to make a video because I focus on photography so often and I would like to do more work with video. I have always enjoyed making videos but have not had the time or inspiration for it in a while. It chronicles some of the everyday things I do with my hands. It is mostly conscious things; the things that make up most of one's day, such as making a sandwich or playing guitar. But some of the unconscious things sneak in between, such as snapping my fingers or putting my hair behind my ears.